Kia Johnson

Bexar County, Texas
Date of Crime:  October 29, 1993
Executed June 11, 2003

Kia Levoy Johnson was sentenced to death for the shooting murder of William Matthew Rains. Rains, a store clerk, was shot during a 2:45 a.m. robbery of a Stop 'N Go convenience store at 3309 Hillcrest Dr. in Balcones Heights, Texas. The assailant was unable to open the cash register and took it with him. The details of the crime were captured on video by a store security camera.

At trial the following evidence was presented against Johnson: (1) Raymond Thompson, the uncle of Johnson's common-law wife, reported that he saw the security video on a television newscast the day after the crime and he called the police to tell them he recognized Johnson as the shooter in the video. (2) Henry Wright, Jr, who said he was a long-time friend of Johnson, also identified Johnson as the shooter in the video. (3) A woman named Machall Mims claimed to have been with Johnson prior to the robbery-murder. She said his alibi was false and identified him as the shooter in the video. (4) The jacket worn by Johnson when arrested was similar to the jacket of the shooter. (5) A sneaker found in Johnson's closet matched a shoe print left on cash register receipt paper that had fallen on the convenience store floor.

Much evidence was established, some of it after Johnson's conviction, which was in Johnson's favor: (1) Raymond Thompson was not an impartial observer as he admitted a personal loathing for Johnson while on the witness stand. (2) When cross-examined about discrepancies in his prior statements, Thompson testified he could not recall whether he first saw the security video on a television newscast or whether the police first showed it to him. Since Thompson would likely remember calling the police to inform them his nephew-in-law was a murderer, it would appear that the story of Thompson's initial identification is false and that he identified Johnson only after being shown the video by the police and perhaps persuaded by them to make the identification.

(3) Henry Wright, Jr, the reported long-time friend of Johnson, was a drug addict whom Johnson had not seen in fifteen years. (4) Machall Mims was a jailhouse informant who had previously testified for the state in exchange for reduced sentences. (5) The security camera video was of such poor quality that even Thompson identified Johnson by his clothing rather than by his facial features. The FBI crime lab could not match Johnson's photo to the shooter in the video. (6) The video, however, was clear enough to definitively show that the shooter placed his hands on the counter when he entered the store. The police were not able to match any prints they took from the counter to Johnson's fingers or palms.

Johnson was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2003.  [2/11]


References:  NCADP, Website, Site#2, Skeptical Juror, Appellant Brief, State Reply, Johnson v. Cockrell

Posted in:  Victims of the State, Southeast Texas Cases, Defendants Executed by Texas, Miscellaneous Forensics